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Illuminations Cruise Budapest

Top Things to See and Do in Budapest

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Top things to see and do in Budapest include visiting Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Heroes Square, and St. Stephen’s Basilica. Elsewhere in the city, Turkish baths and districts filled with restaurants and bars welcome visitors from all over the world.

Budapest is split in half by the Danube River, with Pest on the eastern side and Buda across the river. The Buda side has many of the city’s historic landmarks, and the Pest section has seen a hip collection of breweries and restaurants sprout up in recent times.
Buda (West)
  • Buda Castle and the Castle District
Buda Castle sat on a hill overlooking the city and was the seat of power for Turkish
royalty since 1265. Today it offers stunning views from its towers and houses the
Budapest History Museum and the National Gallery-each give insight into the country's milestones
in art and history.
  • Fisherman’s Bastion
Fisherman’s Bastion is a terraced pavilion that takes its name from the people who defended the city in ancient times. The terrace view is amazing and worth the trip as the Danube River and Pest on the other side are spectacular sights from the vantage point. 
  • Matthias Church
Built-in the 14th century and reflecting the Buda Castle's architectural style, the Matthias Church is where kings were crowned-starting new eras in Hungary’s history. Inside galleries showcase artifacts from the country’s past, including replicas of the royal jewels.
  • Gellért Hill
After an uphill hike, travelers are rewarded with a stunning view of the whole city and
the river below from the top of  Gellért Hill.
Pest (East)
Pest also has its share of landmarks and stunning views of the hillside and castle on the city's Buda
side. Other parts of Budapest’s flat side are now home to a great collection of
international restaurants that have gained acclaim worldwide.
  • Heroes Square
The largest plaza in the city and arguably the most impressive, Heroes Square was
constructed to celebrate Hungary's 1000th anniversary. The center's monument
depicts the seven chieftains who led the tribes of Magyar to the land and kings, and
important figures of the country’s history. Along the sides of the square are the National
Hall of Art and the Museum of  Fine Art. 
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Steven’s Basilica is the tallest building in Budapest, only matched by the Parliament building. Taking half a century to complete and named after the first king of the country, the interiors have lavish mosaics and paintings by well-known artists of the time. The church’s two towers are open, and climbing to the top gives those who make the trip a bird’s eye view of the city. 
Eat, Shop, Relax
Budapest’s dining and shopping scene are ever-changing. New areas of the city bring a new crop of restaurants and stores, each being unique in their own right. The capital also holds on to its traditions-Turkish baths are a way of life for people in the city.  The Central Market Hall is the largest food market in Budapest and was founded at the
end of the 19th century. Today, it’s a foodie's dream as the rows of stalls sell Hungarian
spices and cheese, black truffles, homemade jams, honey, and Hungarian sausages. On
other market levels, there are food vendors serving specialties from stalls that are
part of traditional and part market fare. 
  • The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter of Pest has transformed from being run down after the end of WWII to a hot spot for shopping, bars, breweries, and restaurants. It is the city’s hip sector, with trendsetters lining the streets and filling the bars on weekends and in-the-know visitors shopping during the city tours.  Often called the most beautiful spa in Budapest, Gellert opened its doors in 1918 and has
grown from a few thermal pools to a complex with indoor and outdoor pools, Finnish
saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, and a wide range of spa treatments. For more information
about visiting Budapest on a European cruise traveling the Danube River and the options
for activities and ports of call along the way, contact a member of our travel team.


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